Where Did All the Books Go?


August is the season of a new semester. Everyone is starting to get their belongings moved in, saying goodbye to mom and dad, and finally starting their studying journey. Many returning students come back to where they grow knowledge and establish connections within study groups: The Baldwin Library, which some have come to realize looks quite empty. This emptiness leaves a lingering question across campus: Where did all the books go? 

All the books that are going to be moved have been moved to Branch Hall. However, deciding which books get moved was a meticulous process based on circulation statistics. Books that were added to the collection prior to 2020 and have not been checked out from 2020 onward were moved to Branch. 

The collection has books that have not been checked out for 20 years, but they are still valuable to the collection. Students can still check out books that aren’t physically in the main library on the second floor of Carlton. 

The process of obtaining a book that is technically in Branch will be the same as acquiring one from the Bainbridge campus or UGA. While not that many people have needed books at the beginning of the semester, it is anticipated that library employees will have to make multiple trips to Branch Hall daily with a library cart because of students doing mentored research, capstone projects, or just reading to read! 

Multiple factors went into choosing Branch as a storage area for the books. Sustainability for the library, climate control, security, and fire safety were key considerations. Choosing a location on campus eliminated the need for rent payments that would come with an off-campus location. 

The progressive relocation did not come without challenges. The physical aspects of moving an extensive collection of books required considerable effort. Library employees took on the task of moving the books themselves, reflecting their dedication to maintaining the continuity of the collection. 

Overall, the strategic move aims at enhancing accessibility, learning, and ABAC community engagement. The main reason for the move is an evolving need from students. There has been a need for more room to study, especially during finals, so the library staff made the pivotal decision of finding a way to move the books while still giving students access to the collection. 

Moving the books also gives more room for event space. The STEPS Symposium, which allows students to present their research in a format like professional conferences in the field, is usually held in the library. The move will allow for more events to be able to happen at the library, rather than having to rent an off-campus spot. 

As of August 21, the library will be open 24 hours, seven days a week. Library staff will only be present during library hours, so students will not be able to check out books or ask for help outside of those hours. The library being open 24/7 gives students an opportunity to have a space to study no matter what.   

In the realm of digital resources, education budget cuts did lead to the discontinuation of a video database. The change was carefully executed to minimize impact, and the program was only getting around ten uses a semester. Vital resources, such as Galileo, remained untouched with the change.  

As the Baldwin library settles into its new location, the pages of this chapter continue to unfold. With a strategic blend of tradition and innovation, the institution is embracing the changing landscape of education while remaining true to its core mission: To provide an environment that nurtures learning, fosters community, and inspires innovation. 

Anslee James is a junior double majoring in history & government and writing & communication. When she isn’t at the gym, she can be found playing with her dog, Lola, or listening to Taylor Swift. She hopes to eventually become an attorney and become a partner of a firm in the future.

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